Moat Biotechnology Forms To Develop Novel Mucosal Vaccines for Covid-19 and Beyond: Announces Initial Funding Round and Promising Phase I trial results for Intranasal Covid-19 Vaccine
OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 20, 2022) — Moat Biotechnology Corporation (MoatBio), a new clinical development stage company founded by serial biopharmaceutical entrepreneurs Drs. Scott Rollins and Russell Rother, announces promising initial Phase I trial results of an intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, and kicks off an initial round of funding with lead investor Cortado Ventures.
MoatBio holds an exclusive patent license from Mayo Clinic for the novel second generation single-cycle adenovirus vaccine platform (SC-AdVax) to develop intranasal and oral vaccines that can elicit and boost both mucosal and systemic immunity for the treatment of infectious diseases, like COVID-19. The novel SC-AdVax platform targets cells in the respiratory tract or GI tract to elicit a strong mucosal immune response by reacting to pathogens at their point of entry, which is a significant advancement over existing vaccine platforms, including mRNAs.
“Respiratory viruses like SARS-CoV-2 enter through the nasal passages, and if the viruses are encountered there, then we can significantly reduce their ability to replicate systemically within the body, where more serious viral morbidities occur,” said Russell Rother, President, COO and Co-founder of MoatBio. “Our initial Phase 1 trial results have demonstrated not only a strong mucosal immune response but also a strong systemic response in a majority of treated subjects. The ability to vaccinate individuals intranasally or orally for many pathogens would be a game changer.”
An initial investment by Cortado Ventures opens Moat’s funding round which is targeting up to $20M. The new round of funding will expand the ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial of an intranasal boost for COVID-19 and initiate the development of 2nd and 3rd SC-AdVax vaccines for additional mucosal pathogens.
The Phase 1 clinical trial is being performed in Australia, and the COVID-19 vaccine was safe and well tolerated in the initial ascending dose cohorts. In addition, when the vaccine was given as a boost to subjects receiving a previous mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, strong mucosal and systemic neutralizing antibody responses, and a systemic Th1-skewed T cell response against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was observed in a majority of subjects. Further clinical testing is planned in the Phase 1 study to fine tune dosing and increase patient exposure. The SC-AdVax technology has also been tested in pre-clinical models of influenza, HIV, HPV, C. difficile, C. jejuni, hepatitis, Zika, CMV, and Ebola.
“Our goal is to reduce the morbidity and mortality for multiple serious infectious diseases that are currently underserved by vaccines and other treatments,” said Dr. Scott Rollins, CEO and Co-founder of MoatBio. “Whether it is COVID-19 or another highly infectious disease like influenza, HIV or Ebola, we are confident that with the SC-AdVax technology, we can provide a new level of protection against this and future pandemics or epidemics while offering a more palatable and accessible mode of administration.”
Drs. Rollins and Rother have strong track records of success. At Alexion Pharmaceuticals (sold to AstraZeneca in 2021 for $39B), where they served as Co-Founder/Executive Vice President of Drug Development and Chief Scientific Officer, respectively, they were the principal inventors and developers of SOLIRIS with current annual sales of over $5B. In addition, Rollins and Rother served as CEO / COO of Selexys Pharmaceuticals and developed the novel drug ADAKVEO for sickle cell disease which was approved by the FDA in 2019; Selexys was sold to Novartis for $665M in November 2016. Rollins and Rother are currently serving as CEO / COO of Tetherex Pharmaceuticals which is developing anti-inflammatory therapies for asthma and other indications. MoatBio was spun out from Tetherex Pharmaceuticals to capitalize the SC-AdVax platform as a separate Company and allow for more rapid and broad development of vaccine candidates. Rollins and Rother will be joined at MoatBio by Richard Alvarez who was also instrumental in the successes of Selexys and Tetherex, and a highly skilled board of directors.
“At Cortado Ventures, we invest in companies solving the world’s hardest problems, and a mucosal response to COVID-19 could be the key to ending this pandemic, and helping prevent the next one,” said Mike Moradi, a General Partner with Cortado Ventures. “MoatBio’s intranasal vaccine technology would tackle the virus before it can gain a foothold in a person’s body – reducing the opportunity for community spread. In addition, this technology can address a multitude of diseases, expanding our opportunity to create a healthier world.”
Moradi is an experienced biopharma entrepreneur and executive, who will also serve on the board of directors of MoatBio. Moradi was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
About Moat Biotechnology Moat Biotechnology is a clinical development stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel intranasal and oral vaccines based on the SC-AdVax platform that was exclusively licensed from the Mayo Clinic.
About Cortado Ventures Cortado Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in ambitious, growth-driven companies, backing a new generation of economic prosperity for Oklahoma and the Midcontinent region. As one of the largest VC funds in Oklahoma, Cortado’s focus is on tech companies bringing innovative solutions to the energy, logistics, life sciences, aerospace and the future of work sectors. For more information, visit cortado.ventures.